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Ukraine forces Russia to lose goodwill spirit in releasing Ukrainian sailors

Tue, 28/05/2019 - 14:25
The release of Ukrainian sailors could be a gesture of goodwill, but Ukraine does not contribute to this possibility, Anatoly Salutsky, writer, publicist and expert of the UN Alliance of Civilisations believes. The Kremlin responded to the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg on Ukraine's claim about the incident in the Kerch Strait. "Russia's position cannot change. The investigation in connection with the violation of the law on the border should be completed, and a trial should take place," Dmitry Peskov, Putin's official spokesman said on May 27.The Hamburg court ruled Russia should release three Ukrainian ships and 24 Ukrainian servicemen and let them to return to Ukraine. However, the court did not consider it necessary to demand the Russian Federation should cease the criminal prosecution and refrain from initiating new cases against them, as was requested in Ukraine's lawsuit. The court also ordered both parties to refrain from any actions that could aggravate the dispute.Ukrainian media outlets spread a fake news story, in which the Hamburg court also found Russia guilty of violating the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Even if it was a question of the territorial waters of Russia, warships and their crews cannot be arrested by security forces of foreign states and subjected to the jurisdiction of foreign ships. However, this is an opinion of Ukrainian deputy foreign minister, Elena Zerkal, but not of the Hamburg International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Roman Kolodkin, the Russian judge of the tribunal, voted against the resolution of the court. Kolodkin said that Russia and Ukraine, when signing and ratifying the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, made special statements in which they excluded the consideration of the Kerch incident within the framework of the procedures stipulated by the convention.Roman Kolodkin also noted that Ukraine conducted a provocative act trying to cross the border of the other party to the dispute in violation of well-known procedures. Ruslan Khomchak, the new head of the Ukrainian General Staff, confirmed that it was dangerous to send ships to the Kerch Strait at that time. According to Khomchak, one needs to ask questions to commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Igor Voronchenko.Russia may not execute the court decision, because during the ratification of the Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1997, it was stipulated that Moscow had no obligation to adopt dispute settlement procedures provided for by the convention that lead to binding decisions on the implementation of sovereign rights and jurisdiction. The case in question carries an aspect of the status of the Kerch Strait.Aleksander Vylegzhanin, a professor at the Department of International Law at the Moscow State Institute for Foreign Relations, told Pravda.Ru that residents of the Crimea voted for the reunification with Russia after the coup in Kiev in 2014. Accordingly, the Kerch Strait remains under the jurisdiction of Russia, whereas this water area used to be considered the internal waters of Russia and Ukraine. "The Hamburg Tribunal has no jurisdiction to consider the status of the Kerch Strait, because one needs to consider a number of other issues, namely, whether the United States intervened in the coup in Ukraine in 2014, and whether Crimea's territorial sovereignty changed," Alexander Vylegzhanin told Pravda.Ru. According to the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, it could have been possible to avoid the crisis in the Kerch Strait if the Ukrainians had observed the requirements of the Russian legislation concerning navigation in the given region. "We urge the Ukrainian side to act accordingly henceforth," a representative of the department said. Anatoly Salutsky, a writer and expert at the UN Alliance of Civilizations, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that Russia and Ukraine had made all necessary legal reservations when the countries signed the convention. Ukraine turned to Europe with a request to impose sanctions on Russia, but they are not likely to follow. "The utterly wrong thing to do here is to threaten Russia. If Ukraine had not done so, Russia could have freed the sailors as a gesture of goodwill. Yet, Ukraine wants to impose sanctions, Ukraine threatens Russia, which makes a possibility for a goodwill gesture unlikely. We need to choose a moment and release the Ukrainian sailors, but it should only be a gesture of goodwill, rather than submission to the ruling of the International Tribunal of the United Nations," the expert told Pravda.Ru. Also read: Arrested Ukrainian navy man admits Kerch incident was provocation
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia's growing gold reserves may crush US dollar in a few years

Wed, 22/05/2019 - 18:24
The fact that Russia is buying gold is "bad" for the West, because Western currencies may lose their value in a few years, while the Russian ruble will be backed by gold, economist Valery Maslennikov believes.  In April of 2019, Russia's international reserves exceeded the country's foreign debt. As of April 1, Russia's gold and currency reserves made up $487.8 billion, a report from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation said. At the same time, Russia's gold assets make up less than 20 percent of the country's currency reserves.  Moscow has been accumulating gold and foreign exchange reserves while decreasing the share of  investment in US securities. The Russian authorities work to reduce the dependence of the Russian economy on the US dollar.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia's Black Sea Fleet to embrace vast waters to Red Sea and Persian Gulf

Mon, 13/05/2019 - 20:03
On May 13, 2019, The Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation turns 236 years old. The first squadron of military sailing vessels under St. Andrew's flags entered the Akhtiar Bay on May 13, 1783 - three weeks after the publication of the manifesto signed by Catherine II about the annexation of the Crimea to the Russian Empire. Over the years, the Black Sea Fleet had been divided and destroyed several times. Today, Russia's Black Sea Fleet serves as the country's main instrument of influence in the area of Black and Mediterranean seas.Over the past four years, the Black Sea Fleet has seen a major upgrade. It has received three artillery ships, six diesel submarines, two small missile ships, more than a dozen anti-sabotage and patrol boats, as well as several support vessels, including modular diving platforms and a floating crane. Before 2020, the Black Sea Fleet will get three guard ships, four missile ships and several patrol boats. A collection of new amphibious ships is being built for the fleet too. After the base in Syria's Tartus has been reconstructed and strengthened, the influence of the Black Sea Fleet embraced the Mediterranean basin. Russian navy men have learned to use Russia's state-of-the-art Caliber missiles that showed their effectiveness in Syria. Formally, Caliber cruise missiles do not belong to strategic armaments, but their appearance in the structure of the Black Sea Fleet considerably changed the regional balance of forces in Russia's favour. Almost all of Russia's new surface ships and submarines of the Black Sea Fleet are now armed with Caliber missiles. Naval aviation is reviving too. The air regiment of multifunctional Su-30SM fighters and Su-24MR bombers, formed in 2016 at Novofedorivka air base in the Crimea, has established control over the entire Black Sea area. Coastal forces have been reinforced with new Bal and Bastion systems. Several years ago, the state of affairs was a lot worse. Twenty years ago, the fleet found itself on foreign shores. The powerful Soviet strategic operational group tumbled down like a house of cards during the 1990s. It consisted of about 100,000 personnel, more than 800 warships and submarines. Naval bases and aviation airfields in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova had been sued for support. The 5th operational squadron was operating in the Mediterranean Sea, while a part of the Black Sea Fleet were patrolling the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. All that Soviet legacy was shared with Ukraine, but Russia got only a few dozen efficient ships.Due to chronic financial problems, the Black Sea Fleet was degrading and falling apart quickly. By mid-1990s, it had become inferior to its main potential rival in the region - the Turkish Navy. There were almost no submarines capable of going to sea. Warships were rusting at the docks, while their crews were losing their combat skills.The situation started improving in the beginning of the 2000s, when ships of the Black Sea Fleet would be periodically used in international anti-terrorism exercises and operations, including in the Mediterranean area. During that time, it was BLACKSEAFOR international naval operational group that was controlling the Black Sea. The group consisted of naval ships of coastal states: Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine, and Turkey.The Americans did not like such a development, because the Black Sea was formally closed to their ships, and they could not clearly substantiate the need for the presence of US warships in the Black Sea. In 2008, after the Russian operation to force Georgia to peace, the interaction in the Black Sea had reached an impasse. The coup in Ukraine subsequently put and end to the practice. In 2014, the Crimea and Sevastopol returned to Russia. Already in 2015, the fleet started receiving new ships against the growing number of NATO military exercises in the region. Today, warships of the Black Sea Fleet can conduct high-precision missile attacks from places of their deployment to distances of up to 1,700 kilometres.Russia currently considers an opportunity to expand the influence of the fleet to the waters of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf, as well as to the western part of the Arabian Sea, for which the Pacific Fleet is now responsible.To accomplish this goal, Russia will need to solve plenty of problems, such as to restore the stationary system of surface and underwater surveillance on the Black Sea coast, deploy over-the-horizon detection systems, create a reliable anti-submarine, anti-ship and anti-aircraft defense of the areas where carriers of cruise missiles are based.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Putin addresses social issues, threatens USA with Russia's new missiles in his 15th Federal Assembly speech

Wed, 20/02/2019 - 12:57
On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, President Vladimir Putin delivered his address to the Federal Assembly, in which he presented his assessment of the state of affairs in the country and announced his vision of most important objectives for the near future. It has become Putin's 15th address to the Federal Assembly as President. Unlike last year's speech, in which Putin presented Russia's new outstanding developments and achievements in the field of defence, his present address was expected to be people-oriented. Putin's ratings have been declining as citizens are tired of waiting for the authorities to deal with a plethora of social and economic problems in Russia. Indeed, in the beginning of his speech, Putin declared that it was necessary to focus attention on internal issues of the country's development. According to him, all Russians will see improvements already in the coming months. About 95% of Putin's Address to the Federal Assembly was devoted to social issues, but he also spoke about Russia's military power, her state-of-the-art weapons, and did not miss a chance to intimidate the United States. "For people, it's important what is being done and how it can improve their lives, the lives of their families - now, rather than sometime. We don't need to repeat our mistakes of past decades and wait for the advent of communism. We must change the situation for the better, and the work of executive authorities at all levels must be coherent, meaningful and vigorous. It is up to the Russian government to set such a tone," Putin said. About 19 million Russians are living below the poverty line now, and this is too much, Putin said. "Solving demographic problems, increasing life expectancy, reducing mortality are directly related to overcoming poverty. Let me remind you that in 2000, over 40 million people were living below the poverty line. Now it is about 19 million, but this is too much still," Putin said during his annual Address to the Federal Assembly.The President said that he knows that citizens of Russia have to save on most essential things, such as clothes, medicines and even food. "In the near future, already this year, we should see real changes in people's assessments of the situation. Early next year, we'll summarize first results of the work on national projects," Putin said.The president proceeded to specific tasks that the Russian authorities are facing. According to him, the key objective is to protect people and support families. "Russia has entered a very difficult demographic period. The birth rate has been declining. The reasons behind this are purely objective. They are associated with enormous human losses and failures that our country suffered in the 20th century, during the Great Patriotic War and during dramatic years after the collapse of the USSR. We were able to reverse negative demographic trends in the early 2000s, when the country was in a very difficult situation, when it seemed that it was impossible to do anything, but we did it. We can do it again - to make the natural population growth resume by 2023-2024," Putin said in his message to the Federal Assembly.Speaking further about the need for social changes in Russia, Putin noted the following: - social allowances for children and for disabled individuals will be raised;- property tax exemptions for families with children will be raised;- mortgage rates will be below 8%, whereas special benefits will be provided for families with children;- large families will receive 450 thousand rubles to pay off their mortgage. Thus, taking into account the maternity capital, they will receive more than 900 thousand rubles to pay off the mortgage, which is a significant part of the apartment value in most regions of the Russian Federation.The President also drew attention to the need to immediately index pensions and annual cash payments beyond the subsistence rate.In conclusion, Vladimir Putin threatened the US leadership by saying that Russia's new missiles will be able to reach Washington and New York. However, Putin noted that Russia was not interested in confronting the United States. Russia is not a threat to the US  - instead, Russia wants to have equal friendly relations with Washington. He urged the White House to abandon illusions about gaining global military superiority.Putin said that Russia's new weapons, about which he spoke in his Address to the Federal Assembly in 2018, were capable of ensuring "unconditional security" for Russia. Russia is ready to take mirror and asymmetric measures should the US deploy medium- and short- range missiles in Europe."Russia does not intend to be the first to deploy such missiles in Europe. If they are made and delivered to the European continent - and the United States has such plans, in any case we have not heard rebuttals to that -  this will sharply aggravate the situation in the sphere of international security and create serious threats to Russia, because it takes some of those missiles 10-12 minutes to reach Moscow. This is a very serious threat for us. If it happens, we will be forced, I want to emphasize this, we will be forced to take mirror and asymmetrical measures in response," Putin said. Also read: Putin's Address to the Federal Assembly transforms to address to the whole nation
Categories: Russia & CIS

Three ways of Russia's response to USA's INF Treaty pullout

Mon, 04/02/2019 - 14:20
Russia and the United States have announced their pull out from the Treaty on Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty). It is believed that the treaty is going to end its existence in six months. US President Donald Trump said that the USA would prepare a response to Russia's alleged violation of the INF Treaty not to give Moscow military advantage over Washington. Trump's statements about the INF Treaty did not take Russia by surprise. Representatives of the Russian administration said that the announcement from Washington was an attempt to present cheap ultimatum to Russia, but Moscow was prepared for such a development. According to Sergei Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, the Americans were determined to cast the INF Treaty aside. "For the USA, this game is over. Their pullout from  the treaty will enable the United States to deploy 48 missiles in Europe, and those missiles will be capable of reaching the territory of Russia.Washington accuses Russia of violating the INF Treaty because of the missile known as 9M729. Washington claims that the range of this missile falls within the limits of the 500-5500 kilometres, which is prohibited by the treaty. On January 23, the Russian Defense Ministry arranged a special presentation of the missile to NATO military officials, but the latter showed a reluctant reaction to it. According toVladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chairman of the Committee for International Affairs of the Council of  Federation, Washington's withdrawal from the Treaty on Short and Medium-Range Missiles will give free rein to Russia, and Moscow will be able to show adequate reaction to the States. According to Dzhabarov, the United States has already withdrawn from the INF Treaty, and Russia needs to take adequate measures, as the Americans have been developing and introducing prohibited weapons for long already. The ball is in Russia's court. Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the Cabinet of Ministers o Germany, said that Germany would discuss with its NATO partners whether any measures were needed to ensure security of the allies and their ability to defend themselves. "We need to try to conduct a direct dialogue with Russia, as we do on many other issues, for example, on the situation in Ukraine, the Paris climate agreement, the crisis in Syria. Therefore, we need to find ways to work on non-proliferation issues. The best way is the multilateral framework, and the EU needs to try to play a big role here," Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said. "The withdrawal from the treaty is not the best solution. We would prefer the resumption of the dialogue," he added. According to Russian military expert Konstantin Sivkov, "Russia needs to create ultra-long-range missiles based on the X-101/X-102 missile and deploy about 400-500 of them. These missiles will be inexpensive, they are relatively small in size. The Americans do not have the air defence system, which would be capable of neutralising those missiles."According to him, Washington expects Russia to build medium-range missiles. However, Russia, as Mr. Sivkov believes, should eye the development of ultra-long-range missiles to create an adequate threat to the United States. According to the expert, the range of these missiles will reach about 10-12 thousand kilometres. Another option is the creation of mobile medium-range ballistic missiles based on the Soviet "Pioneer" missile. The upgraded version of the Pioneer-UTTH was capable of carrying three independently-targetable nuclear re-entry vehicles at a range from 600 to 5,000 km, with the probable circular error reaching 450 meters. That was a very good result for those years. Modern technologies can considerably improve the performance of the missile. Thirdly, Russia could develop an anti-ship medium-range ballistic missile similar to the Chinese DF-21D, designed to destroy enemy carrier strike groups at distances of up to 1500-2000 kilometres. Such a weapon can help Russia level out the enormous advantage of the US surface fleet in a possible scenario of defense of the Russian coastline. Also read: Without INF Treaty, USA can destroy Russian nuclear weapons easily
Categories: Russia & CIS

US Treasury takes control of Siberia

Tue, 29/01/2019 - 17:18
The US Treasury and Russian entrepreneur Oleg Deripaska concluded a deal to lift sanctions from his companies in violation of the Russian legislation. This is a dangerous precedent.On Monday, the US Treasury Department announced the lifting of sanctions against Oleg Deripaska's key energy companies - En+, RusAl and Eurosibenergo. At the same time, all sanctions against Oleg Deripaska remain in effect. Deripaska's companies came under sanctions in April 2018. As US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the time, Russian oligarchs and elites who benefit from the corrupt system will no longer be seen separately from consequences of destabilising activities of their government, such as interference in US elections. Deripaska was offered to reduce his share in the assets and thus lose the ability to control them. Deripaska reduced his share at En+ (its subsidiaries are RusAl and Eurosibenergo) from 70% to 44.95%, transferred a part of En+ shares to a charitable foundation and abjured the shares pledged to VTB.The parties also agreed on unprecedented transparency of activities, taking upon extensive, permanent requirements for auditing, certification and reporting.US Democrats tried to block the decision of the US Treasury to lift the sanctions from Oleg Deripaska's companies, but the Senate did not support the lower house. According to the BBC, various business groups put pressure on the administration to lift the sanctions from the three companies, because RusAl (Russian Aluminium) is one of the world's largest suppliers of aluminum. The imposition of sanctions on RusAl made world prices on aluminium go higher. The Board of Directors of En+ was renewed as agreed with British Lord Gregory Baker remaining its chairman. Noteworthy, it was Baker, who initiated the plan to lift sanctions from En+. New candidates were agreed with the US Treasury Department: Christopher Bancroft Burnham, Carl Hughes, Joan MacNaughton, Nicholas Jordan, Igor Lozhevsky, Alexander Chmel and Andrei Sharonov, the Vedomosti wrote. It just so happens that all members of the board of directors of the Russian company, with the exception of three, are US citizens. In general, these conditions look like a transfer of control over Oleg Deripaska's assets to the US Treasury, the Kommersant wrote. Vladimir Rozhankovsky, an expert at the International Financial Center, told Pravda.Ru, the above-mentioned agreement was concluded in circumvention of the law of the Russian Federation about the appointment of members of the board of directors in a public joint-stock company, such as En+. New members of the board of directors of a Russian joint-stock company can only by appointed at an extraordinary meeting of shareholders. "According to the law of the Russian Federation, one should prepare a dossier of candidates and provide exhaustive information about who they are and what they have to do with the aluminum industry. Afterwards, shareholders vote for or against those people," said Rozhankovsky."One should not let this case fade away, as this is a dangerous precedent. The Communist Party in the State Duma demanded an independent parliamentary investigation should be initiated into the changes, but their requirement was rejected. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and the parliament should initiate investigation," the expert said."In the US, Democrats filed a lawsuit against the move to reverse the permission to unblock En+ accounts. As long as the process continues both in Russia and in the United States, one cannot announce the winner yet," Vladimir Rozhankovsky concluded.On Wednesday, a group of MPs representing the Communist Party faction suggested appealing to the Office of the Prosecutor General, the Federal Security Bureau and the Russian government to look into the legality of the agreement between the US Treasury and Oleg Deripaska regarding the plan to lift sanctions from En+ and RusAl. "Since January 18, virtually the entire aluminum industry of the Russian Federation is moving under the control of the US Treasury. We believe that the Security Committee of the State Duma should appeal to the Office of the Prosecutor General, the FSB and the government to look into the legality of the agreement and its compliance with Russian national security interests, because in such a situation the Americans take control of Siberia," Nikolai Kolomeytsev, first deputy chairman of the State Duma's Labor Committee said. Also read: Westerners teach Russian oligarchs a few good lessons they need to learn
Categories: Russia & CIS

The Russians will soon wake up to lose two Kuril Islands to Japan

Thu, 10/01/2019 - 12:12
It seems that the issue of the delivery of two Kuril islands to Japan has been coordinated with the Kremlin. According to Japanese officials, the United States is ready to assist in the matter. Yet, the Russian side has not released any clear comments on the subject. Shinzo Abe steps up on the Kuril Islands dispute On January 1, 2019, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that peace treaty negotiations with Russia should be intensified. The delivery of two Kuril Islands to Japan can only be possible with full consent from local residents, who will have the right to stay on the islands, Abe said in an interview with Asahi TV channel.The Prime Minister of Japan also said that he had visited the grave of his deceased father, where he promised to work on the matter every day. Shinzo Abe's father - Shintaro Abe - had served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan from 1982 to 1986 dealing with relations between Japan and the USSR. This pledge that Abe gave on his father's grave was not just empty words, but an oath.Japanese media outlet Yomiuri reported that negotiations with Russia were nearing their final stage. Supposedly, the Japanese authorities will be ready to pay compensation to the people who left the islands if Moscow agrees to waive its claims for compensation.On Tuesday, Katsuyuki Kawai, Shinzo Abe's Special Assistant for Foreign Policy, said that Japan was counting on US support for the conclusion of a peace treaty with Russia, Kyodo news agency reported. Kawai noted that this would counterbalance the growing influence of China.Until recently, Japan was claiming four islands of the South Kuriles - Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Habomai. The Japanese side refers to the bilateral treaty on trade and borders from 1855. Russia has been keeping the islands under control after World War II, when there was no peace treaty signed with Japan. In 1956, the USSR and Japan signed a joint declaration, in which Moscow agreed to consider the possibility of delivering Habomai and Shikotan islands to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty. The treaty had never been signed - the United States threatened Japan in the midst of the Cold War that a peace treaty with Russia would affect the process of returning Okinawa to Japan's sovereignty. It is worthy of note that Okinawa returned to the jurisdiction of Japan in 1972. Moscow's stance on Kuril Islands dispute Moscow firmly believes that the islands became part of the USSR following WWII, and Russia's sovereignty over them is beyond doubt, although the mutual economic use of the islands is possible. In November, Putin and Abe agreed to speed up negotiations on the peace treaty based on the 1956 Soviet-Japanese declaration. However, the sides differ as per the transfer of sovereignty.In December 2018, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that it was possible to transfer a part of the Kuril Islands to Japan if Tokyo recognized the results of WWII. Some believe that as soon as the Japanese receive two Kuril islands, they will ask for two other islands of the chain. In addition, Japan may consider building a US army base on the islands. According to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Vladimir Putin is committed to signing the peace treaty. Yet, Putin says that the military presence of the United States in Japan complicates the search for a formal peace treaty between Moscow and Tokyo.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Ukraine, and Phony US Election Meddling

Sun, 30/12/2018 - 23:52
Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Ukraine, and Phony US Election Meddling by Stephen Lendman ( - Home - Stephen Lendman) Endless war in Syria continues despite most parts of the country liberated from US-supported terrorists.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Hysterical Media Promoted Fake News About Russia

Sat, 29/12/2018 - 17:39
Hysterical Media Promoted Fake News About Russia by Stephen Lendman ( - Home - Stephen Lendman) Major media in America and the West operate as mouthpieces for wealth, power and privilege - betraying their readers and viewers. 
Categories: Russia & CIS

2019: Putin should end 'friendship' with USA, Japan and Belarus

Thu, 27/12/2018 - 17:13
Friendship between Russia and Belarus has become an issue recently. Is Russia going to be friends with Belarus in 2019 or is the brotherly nation going to join the ranks of Russia's enemies similarly to Ukraine? Moreover, Russian experts believe that President Putin should not be friends either with his US counterpart Donald Trump or Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. There are many questions about 2019, the answers to which we would like to know already today, as the year 2018 is about to end. Will Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko win the election? Will Russia sign a peace treaty with Japan? Pravda.Ru turned to political scientist, deputy dean of the Department of World Economy and Politics of the Higher School of Economics, Andrei Suzdaltsev, in a humble attempt to find out the future that the world is going to see in the next 365 days."Ukraine will hold the presidential election in March of 2019. What chances do you think sitting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has to win the vote? "His re-election is quite possible, although this is not going to happen within the framework of the democratic expression of the will of the people. The people of Ukraine will most likely go to the polls to choose between two evils. Poroshenko may also try to extend his stay in power, as he has already tried having declared martial law in Ukraine. I do not think we are going to bid farewell to Petro Poroshenko in the spring of 2019.""Do you think they will impeach Donald Trump in the United States in 2019?" "I do not think so. Trump's impeachment is excluded. There is no technical opportunity for it,  because it is the Republicans who control the Senate. There is an unprecedented campaign going on against Trump now in the States, he snarls, and all this rocks the boat a lot. The US elite are confident that the country's political system is stable and strong, but they do not notice political changes that are taking place before them as the country is increasingly shifting towards a parliamentary-presidential republic. We believe that the situation, in which the Americans are looking for the enemy in the face of Russia is now fading away.""What unexpected decisions can Trump make?" "He is unpredictable. He has become a symbol of fruitless politics on the international arena. It is the US Congress that regulates all international affairs and US foreign policies in relation to Russia, China, Korea, Iran and so on. Trump is aware of it, and he tries to do something to attract attention to his persona of a major international leader. In fact, he is a hooligan rather than a leader. He has no potential in the international arena. It makes no sense for Russia to come to any agreement with Trump. There is no point for Putin to arrange meetings with Trump either. Donald Trump is not even close to such presidents as Nixon, Ford, or Reagan. There was no good from meetings with Barack Obama either. Obama had his head in the clouds. Trump tries to act to his own benefit of a public persona, so his PR stunts will continue in 2019. Russia does not need to contribute to his promotion. All the talking about Trump being a sincere person, who tries to improve relations with Russia is rubbish. The United States sees Russia as a nuclear power - the only power on the planet that can destroy the United States in return. That's all.""Do you think Russia can sign a peace treaty with Japan?""I come from the Far East of Russia, and I can understand Sakhalin residents, who are vehemently opposed to the idea of delivering a few Kuril Islands to Japan. A nation can lose its territory only during the time of war. We hadn't lost anything to Japan. The fact that this situation has become a stumbling block in our relations may also contain a hidden motive of Soviet diplomacy. It's like the Crimea that was given away to Ukraine. "I can see that the Russian administration is doing its best to find a solution to this problem. Yet, if we solve the problem by giving our land away, we will doom Russia. As soon as we give away small islands of Habomai and Shikotan, the Japanese will ask for Iturup right away. They will keep asking for more, and if we give the islands away, others will rush to ask for their pie too. The Japanese do not want to try to understand Russia, but this does not mean that we will sell out our territory.""How can Russia develop the relationship with Japan then?" "We should leave this topic behind and show determination. There are many of those in Russia who believe that we should surrender and give away the Kaliningrad enclave, the Kuril Islands, return the Crimea. Those people do not seem to understand that if we start giving away, the process will not end until we give away everything. At the same time, there are many people in Russia who think that Russia should stick to tit-for-tat policy: to sink foreign vessels that enter Russian territorial waters, and show tough response to other attacks. The West is bullying Russia. The British have been bullying us a lot lately. We were surprised that the Brits did not blame Russia for the drone incident at Gatwick Airport."There is also the "happy medium" - the people who think that Russia should act within the framework of international law, fight back, persuade, explain, stay firm in negotiations, perform without the national flag at the Olympics - in short, to tolerate and endure all these humiliations. Those people who stick to this kind of position know what patience is. One has to admit that the Russian administration sticks to this policy. "Let's take Belarus and its president Alexander Lukashenko. For 25 years, we have not seen any integration, but we have seen rudeness, an anti-Russian campaign inside Belarus and anti-Russian foreign policy. Lukashenko comes to Russia, puts his feet on the table and asks for another ten billion dollars. In fact, Lukashenko has been waging an information war against Russia too. He ships military hardware and fuel to Ukraine and then says rude things Putin in the face. Lukashenko is the only president in the world, who attacks Putin verbally in his presence. Strangely enough, Russia has invested over 100 billion dollars in Belarus in 25 years."Read article in Russian
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia's 2018: Confidence in Putin gone

Wed, 26/12/2018 - 16:29
The main event of the outgoing year 2018 for Russia is neither the FIFA World Cup nor even the opening of the Crimean Bridge. The main event is the pension reform, the negative influence of which has undermined public confidence in the president. Russia's Pension reform - Putin' brainchild Gone are the days when most Russians would praise President Putin for his desire to listen to no-one important people. However, the decision of the Russian government to raise the retirement age in Russia and the swift approval of the relevant law showed that Vladimir Putin listens to interests of big business representatives to the detriment of the interests of the population.Putin says that one would have to raise the retirement age in Russia in five or seven years anyway. Yet, this mantra of his sounds unconvincing just because this is a long period of time, during which it could be possible to break the negative trend. There were good proposals made at this point, but they were all about the redistribution of income of large capital and the introduction of a progressive taxation scale. Also read: Putin loses everything he hasFor example, the rate of returns in gasoline prices in the Russian oil industry is 40 percent. This is a lot. For comparison, the profitability in the mining industry in the United States is only ten percent. The average profit rate in Russia is eight to ten percent. In a nutshell, Russian oil companies receive extra high monopoly profits, the lion's share of which accounts for the natural resource royalty, which the state should appropriate to spend it on the needs of the people.Putin decided not to go that way. He took account of the fact that many current pensioners in Russia are indifferent to the pension reform, because they still receive their pensions. In addition, the majority of young Russians are indifferent to the issue as well, because it is too early for them to think about pensions. The decision to raise the retirement age in Russia has struck not just the material (people will lose 82.2 billion rubles of income during the first year of the program), but the psychological blow on the country.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Putin: The world underestimates danger of nuclear war

Thu, 20/12/2018 - 15:49
On December 20, Russian President Putin started his 14th, large press conference. Interestingly, on December 20 Russia marks the Day of the Security Officer, which has been commonly known in Russia as the "Chekist Day" ('Chekist' is a Russian colloquialism for 'KGB officer'). After the press conference, Putin will attend a gala evening dedicated to this date.A record number of journalists - more than 1,700 people - were accredited for the press conference. Traditionally, Putin started the press conference with a brief report about the economic situation in Russia. The president said that Russia's GDP grew by 1.7 percent over the year. The real level of wages was growing, while the inflation rate remained on an acceptable level. As of 2018, it will exceed the target level of 4 percent and will make up 4.1-4.2 percent. The unemployment level in the country decreased to 4.8 percent having thus set an all-time low, Putin said. Life expectancy in the Russian Federation in 2018 increased to 72.9 years compared to 72.7 years last year.The budget surplus of the Russian Federation in 2018 will make up 2.1 percent of GDP.Putin stressed that Russia needs a breakthrough, a leap into the new technological order. This requires resources, which the government and the administration are looking for. Answering a question of whether the Russian economy is stagnating, Putin said that the government did not rely on "mechanical" calculations in its forecasts. The government plans a growth of three  percent by 2021. Fluctuations are possible, but it is important to enter another league of economies, Putin said, adding that Russia's goal is to become the fifth economy in the world.Speaking about the work of the Russian government, Putin said that he was "generally pleased" with the work that the Russian government conducts under the chairmanship of Dmitry Medvedev. According to the head of state, the budget surplus of 2.1 percent of GDP is a good indicator of the work of the government.Answering the question of whether the fiscal burden on Russian people was too high and how it could be related to the policy of the government that raises VAT, housing and utility tariffs for people and imposes a tax on self-employed individuals, Putin said that in many countries VAT makes up 20% (Russia is raising VAT from 18 to 20 percent from January 1, 2019). Putin said that the change in the VAT rate was necessary to reduce oil and gas budget deficit. He said that during the recent economic crises, Russia was forced to spend petrodollars, which led to an increase in the oil and gas deficit. It became possible to reduce it to 6.6 percent.Answering a question about fears of a new global military conflict, a global nuclear disaster and a world war, Putin noted that the world was underestimating the danger of a nuclear war during the recent years. The danger of such a scenario in the world is being obscured, which may lead to the death of human civilisation and even the whole planet, President Putin said. In the West, there is an idea of using low yield nuclear weapons, but the use of such weapons can lead to a global catastrophe, the Russian leader stressed.Answering a question about unnecessary conflicts between authorities and representatives of the younger generation, about dispersing rap concerts, banning young people from participating in rallies, Putin said that young people make the foundation of today's and future Russia.Yet, there are different kinds of young people, he said. He referred to the story of young paratroopers, who were fighting to death with hordes of terrorists. "Out of several dozen, only six of them remained, and they were fighting against two thousand militants," said Putin making a reference to the feat of 90 paratroopers from Pskov, who engaged in a battle with 2,500 Chechen terrorists near the village of Ulus-Kert in 2000. In addition to young military men, there are a lot of young volunteers and people who are engaged in search and rescue activities. "Those people make the stronghold of today and the future of Russia," Putin said, adding that "there are also talented musicians."He then condemned the drug propaganda in rap songs. "Do we want to degrade? In no way this should be encouraged. At the same time, one should counteract differently here," he said. Therefore, the Russian president considers the arrests of rap singers and the abortion of their concerts unnecessary, since such conflicts are counterproductive."Yet, there is nothing good in the fact that they use foul language in their songs - but let them sing so," Putin noted. "Art does not exist to indulge sordid values," he added. Speaking about the state of affairs in Ukraine, attempts to solve political problems of the Donbass by force are doomed to failure, Vladimir Putin said when answering a question from a correspondent of Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, who asked the Russian president how much money Russia spends on the Donbass, whose people Russia treats like slaves."Attempts to solve political issues with the help of force, and we can see that this is exactly what the Ukrainian authorities have been doing for several years, are doomed to failure. It must be understood," Putin said.Putin also said that Russian-Ukrainian relations are not going to go back to normal until there were Russophobes in power in Ukraine. "As long as there are Russophobes in power in Kiev, who do not understand what the interests of their own people are, an abnormal situation like this will continue regardless of who is in power in the Kremlin," Putin said.At the same time, Russia is interested in peace and prosperity in Ukraine, as Ukraine remains one of the largest economic partners of the Russian Federation. The trade turnover between Russia and Ukraine has increased compared to 2017. "This is not strange, because it is a natural connection, and these natural connections will someday make their presence felt," he added.Russia will continue providing humanitarian and other assistance to people living in the Donbass. "We really provide humanitarian, other type of assistance and support to people who live in this territory. We are doing it so that they do not get crushed, torn and eaten there. And we will do it further," said the head of state.It was not Russia, but the Ukrainian authorities that set up the blockade between the Donbass and the rest of Ukraine. "It is them, who shell the people, whom they consider their own citizens. Every day people get killed there - civilian people," Putin said. Maria Butina, a Russian citizen, who was arrested in the USA, was not executing any tasks for the Russian authorities, no matter what she may say.  Therefore, there are no grounds for accusations against Butina in the United States, Putin said. "They force her to confess, but I do not really understand what she can confess there, because she was not fulfilling any assignments of the state bodies of Russia, and I can responsibly declare this to you, no matter what she's saying there under the influence of threats of imprisonment for 12-15 years," said Putin. "I don't understand why they jailed her. There is simply no reason for it," Putin added.Speaking about the detention of foreign citizens in the United States, Putin said that Moscow would not be acting on an "eye for an eye" principle to subsequently exchange prisoners.Speaking about the case of Skripal poisoning, Putin said that there was nothing to comment on - Skripal and his daughter are alive, but the media hype does not subside. Thus, the Skripal case is only a pretext for an attack on Moscow, Putin said. "If there had been no Skripals, they would have come up with something else just to contain the development of Russia as a competitor," Putin said. At the same time, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, but no one introduces sanctions, the Russian president recalled, pointing out the policy of double standards in the West.The Russian president believes that the Russian economy has adapted itself to international sanctions. Generally, Russia has always been living under sanctions which the West impose on Russia at the time when Russia's power and international influence grows. The West has lost the Russian market, and the number of jobs in the West has declined. The unemployment level in Russia is only 4.8 percent, while in EU countries, for example, in Spain, it reaches 15 percent, he said. Moreover, restrictions forced the Russians to think different in many areas. The share of transport engineering currently makes up more than 90 percent, while sales to the foreign market have increased.Answering a question about growing nostalgia for the times of the USSR among the Russians, President Vladimir Putin said that he considered the restoration of socialism in Russia impossible."I think it is impossible," he said. "A profound change in society excludes the restoration of socialism ... this is impossible," the president added.Speaking about elements of socialism that can and even need to be restored, Putin noted the equitable distribution of resources, the aspiration to reduce the level of poverty to a minimum, ensure medical and educational services to people on acceptable conditions. "We are carrying out such policies now. This is what our national projects aim to," Putin said. With regard to the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, Putin said that the United States withdraws troops from Afghanistan every year. The withdrawal of US troops from Syria, is not yet visible either, he noted.Putin said that there was no need for US troops to be present in Syria. "Let us not forget that the presence of US troops in Syria is illegitimate. The UN Security Council had not confirmed the presence of US troops in Syria. It is only the decision of the UN Security Council or the invitation from the legitimate government of Syria that can make the presence of a foreign military contingent in Syria legal," Putin added. Vladimir Putin agreed with Donald Trump who said that the United States contributed to the destruction of terrorists in Syria. "I agree with Donald here," he said but recalled that Russia had taken immense efforts to destroy terrorists."Despite all discrepancies, there's still quite a constructive dialogue between our specialists, our military men and special services to resolve acute problems in the struggle against terrorism in Syria," Putin said. Photo credits:
Categories: Russia & CIS

L'Antidiplomatico Interview: Andre Vltchek interviewed by Alessandro Bianchi

Sun, 02/12/2018 - 20:42
L'Antidiplomatico Interview: Andre Vltchek interviewed by Alessandro Bianchi    AB: Let's start from today's crisis in the Sea of Azov. The European Union and NATO have given full support to Ukraine after the violation of Russian sovereignty by two Ukrainian vessels. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave his full support to Poroshenko, who declared martial law. What does a country like Italy risk in continuing its accession to NATO?
Categories: Russia & CIS

Trump/Putin Meeting at G20: On or Off? Showdown with China's Xi Jinping?

Fri, 30/11/2018 - 10:40
Trump/Putin Meeting at G20: On or Off? Showdown with China's Xi Jinping? G20 leaders will meet on Friday and Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Kiev's staged Black Sea provocation and Trump's trade war with China hang over the summit, along with US hostility toward Russia, endless war in Syria, and other major geopolitical issues. Major Sino/US differences highlighted the mid-November APEC summit - notably America first protectionism v. fair trade.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russians ready to endure anything for a life without war

Wed, 21/11/2018 - 17:38
Depression in Russian smaller cities continues rising, while state-run major corporations continue counting their profit. Nevertheless, most people in Russia are ready to endure any hardships. As they say in Russia - anything for a life without war. The psychology of the Russian person does not change and there is no leader who can change this. Real income of the population does not grow A study conducted by Romir public opinion research centre said that the volume of extra money in the average Russian household has decreased in October by 500 rubles or 2.2 percent as compared with September. Thus, the average Russian family has 22,000 rubles ($334) to spend after all bills are paid. Residents of smaller Russian cities with the population of 100,000 have suffered largest losses: 15,100 rubles of extra money a month, which marked a decline by 1,000 rubles as compared to September. The data suggests that the real incomes of most Russians do not grow, even though officials speak of the opposite. For example, German Gref, the head of Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, stated that Russian people started raising more loans and switched from savings to consumption. In reality, however, inflation and taxes eat the nominal growth of wages. Many Russians raise new bank loans to be able to repay the loans that they had raised before. Thus, a study by Equifix Bureau of Credit Histories said that overdue debts of the population to microfinancial institutions amounted to 35.4 billion rubles, which marked a record of 40.3 percent of the number of loans in the credit portfolio. The Duma and the government are too far from people Meanwhile, the government and the Duma continue making people's wallets thinner. Having raised the value added tax (the move that will raise prices in the country on all goods and services without exception), and the retirement age, the government proceeded to introducing a new tax on those individuals who take extra work (self-employed tax). To make matters worse, the government considers taxing "unhealthy food products" (such as sausages, for example) and introducing new insurance payments.Russians can get ready for mandatory real estate insurance, a rise in property taxes in connection with the transition to the cadastral base of valuation and so on. At the same time, however, the level of unemployment in provincial Russian cities has been on the rise lately. Such a state of affairs is supposed to disseminate protest sentiments in the country, the popularity of the ruling party is supposed to decrease too. However, most people still go to the polls to vote for United Russia. Nikita Isaev, director of the Institute of Actual Economics, told Pravda.Ru that there was economic growth in Russia. "It is formed in revenues from state corporations - oil and gas, banking, financial sectors, and so on. Most of the households that receive these revenues are concentrated in cities with a population of over one million. If we talk about a possible increase in population income, one does not talk about smaller cities and towns, where people survive," Nikita Isaev said. The state of affairs in Russia will get even more dangerous in 2019, the expert believes. "I traveled by car across Russia from Moscow to Sakhalin this year and talked to people from 29 regions. People told me that they were ready to make up with an increase in the retirement age, although it was not an unfair move on the part of the government. "They told me that they were ready to live for 6,000 rubles without social benefits and grow their food - they are ready for anything for a life without war. This is what the Russian people are all about - they are ready to endure everything at all times," Nikita Isaev noted."As our economic crisis is entering its fifth year, one has to admit that economic problems do not improve the situation. One needs a competitive form of economic and political structure, as well as the political will of the leader. Russia is so rich with natural and human resources, but Russia is also a part of the world that tries to defend itself from the cruel West," Nikita Isaev told Pravda.Ru.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Unemployment in Russia hits record high of 15 percent

Tue, 20/11/2018 - 14:50
Unemployed Russian citizens will have to pay all insurance contributions to social funds for themselves. It goes about the fees to the pension fund, the mandatory medical insurance fund and the social insurance fund. The new rule will affect only able-bodied individuals of working age who officially do not work anywhere.The suggestion in the draft law "On Amendments to Article 23, Article 419 and Article 425 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation" was prepared by a member of the State Duma Committee on Labor, Social Policy and Veterans Affairs Sergei Vostretsov.Under the current law, the fees to the Pension Fund, the Mandatory Medical Insurance Fund and the Social Insurance Fund are paid by the employer (for employed individuals). In total, they make up 30 percent per month and give the right to free health care services, retirement benefits, sickness allowance, maternity and child care allowance. Every month, the employer shall transfer the following taxes for every employee: 22 percent to the Pension Fund, 5.1 percent to the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund and 2.9 percent to the Social Security Fund. The personal income tax is withheld from every employee as well. Vadim Gorshenin, the chairman of the Board of Directors of Pravda.Ru found a number of interesting nuances in Vostretsov's initiative. "From his initiative, we learn that 18 million Russians of working age do not work anywhere officially. I looked into the Rosstat data (I did not find the data for 2018), and in 2017, there were 3.967 million unemployed people in Russia, which accounted for 6.6 percent of the total working-age population. As of January 2018, Rosstat announced that the unemployment rate in Russia declined to 5.2%, that is, to 3.918 million."At the same time, Russian officials announced that the unemployment level in 2018 reached its all-time low. All of a sudden, we can see Mr. Vostretsov saying that there are as many as 18 million unemployed people in the country. Let's take these figures as a basis and we will find out that the unemployment level in today's Russia actually makes up 15 percent - the highest in the 2000s. Before that, the record was 9.4 percent - 5.544 million people."There is something that I like about Mr. Vostretsov's initiative - namely the need for unemployed citizens to cover their own social welfare spending. Such a measure should educate civil feelings and understanding of what our common state budget is made of. I have long proposed to introduce this principle with respect to all citizens in general, rather than just a single category of people. On the other hand, what if such a move would double or triple the unemployment rate?"In the meantime, there is a clear understanding that the treasury is empty while oligarchs keep counting their growing dividend from privatised mineral companies."Vadim GorsheninPravda.Ru Chairman of Board of Directors  Read article in Russian
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia rips its economy apart with help from the West

Wed, 14/11/2018 - 12:26
Experts believe that the rate of the Russian ruble may collapse again just like it happened during the crisis in 2014. In turn, Russian companies may deal with the shortage of currency to pay their debts on foreign markets. Pravda.Ru reported earlier that the net outflow of capital from Russia during the first ten months of 2018 made up $42.2 billion, which was three times as much as in the same period last year. This is the largest capital outflow figure that Russia has seen since 2014. Almost all of the additional income that Russia has received from growing oil prices was levelled off because of the outflow of capital, chief economist at VEB (Vnesheconombank, Foreign Economic Bank) Andrei Klepach believes. "If we look at the dynamics of the ruble exchange rate and its separation from the dynamics of oil prices, we can see that all the revenues obtained from the current oil price of $70 per barrel as opposed to the earlier predicted price of $50, have been taken out of the country. In other words, nothing of those extra revenues has settled in the Russian economy - everything was taken out," said Andrei Klepach.Valentin Katasonov, a professor at the Department of International Finance of MGIMO, told Pravda.Ru that Russian businessmen take their capitals out of Russia over the fear of economic sanctions against the Russian Federation. "They cannot handle stabs in the back that the Russian Central Bank and the Finance Ministry inflict on the Russian economy, because such things can cause their fortunes to shrink," the expert believes. The expert noted that the Russian Central Bank still violates Article No. 75 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which binds the bank to ensure the protection and stability of the Russian ruble. Instead, the Central Bank pursues the inflation targeting policy and has in fact abandoned maintaining the ruble exchange rate by conducting currency interventions."This may eventually cause the currency to collapse again as it happened in December 2014," said Valentin Katasonov. According to the expert, there are three constituents in the outflow of capital. "First off, this is the net outflow of private capital, the second part is the negative balance on investment income - this is what Western creditors receive as interest on loans. The third part is the growth in gold reserves."According to my calculations, these constituents make the capital outflow of $100 billion a year. Elvira Nabiullina, the head of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, gives a much smaller amount, but Central Bank estimates are nothing but bluff. The Central Bank does not control anything. To regulate the problem, one needs to restrict the movement of capital," Valentin Katasonov told Pravda.Ru.
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia close to recognising Donetsk and Luhansk republics after Donbass elections

Tue, 13/11/2018 - 15:51
Moscow has strengthened its position in Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics (LDNR) on Sunday, November 11. Now there are legitimate authorities in the republics, with which Russia can implement the project of the economic integration of the Donbass.Representatives of Western countries and Ukraine released a joint statement at the UN, in which they said that they did not recognise the elections. This was predictable and uninteresting. Everyone understands that the elections in the breakaway republics became a real step towards the recognition of the independence of the People's Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk by the Russian Federation.Moscow has repeatedly reminded that Russia was only a guarantor of the Minsk Accords. Kiev shows unwillingness to implement them and even tries to kill those who signed the documents. After the assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, the head of the People's Republic of Donetsk, the Kremlin lost its patience. Moscow eventually agreed to hold the elections in the breakaway territories on November 11, even though Russia had earlier declined such an opportunity in 2015 and 2016 at the request of Normandy format "partners." The turnout at the election was over 70 percent. Kremlin officials said that they could "understand" the aspirations of republican residents. One can read between the lines here that Russia's economic integration with the region is inevitable. The people of the Donbass have deserved their sovereignty, and Moscow can see it. The economic integration with the People's Republic of Luhansk was launched in 2017. External management was introduced at a number of strategic companies of the republics in 2017. A separate company - Vneshtorgservis - was registered to take control of all city-forming companies working in the metallurgical, coal and chemical industries. In 2017, 14 companies resumed their work in the People's Republic of Donetsk. Their products were exported to 15 countries of the world with Russia being the largest importer - 87.5 percent. Russia also accounts for one-third of the exports of mechanical engineering products.The introduction of external management at Luhansk companies that used to be affiliated with Ukraine, made it possible to save more than 60,000 jobs, the head of the People's Republic of Luhansk, Leonid Pasechnik said. In 2018, the republic plans to launch nine more industrial companies, including the Stakhanov Ferroalloy Plant, the Luhansk Pipe Plant, the Krasnoluchsky Machine Building Plant, the Bryankovo Drilling Equipment Plant, and the Kirov Blacksmith Plant, Rhythm of Eurasia wrote. It is worthy of note that President Putin signed a decree approving the new Concept of the State Migration Policy for 2019-2025. The policy will simplify the acquisition of Russian citizenship for Russians in the Donbas. After the distribution of passports, the situation will develop according to the scenario of the integration of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It is worthy of note that Hungary follows a similar practice distributing passports to Hungarians in Transcarpathia.In five years, Donbass will be de facto integrated with Russia economically. The legal integration is a long process, but it will accelerate with the collapse of Ukraine or its pro-Russian transformation, if this can ever be possible.Denis Pushilin gained 61 percent of the vote in the election of the head of the People's Republic of Donetsk, whereas Leonid Pasechnik won the support of 68 percent in Luhansk.We may suggest that Putin will recognise the independence of People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk to trigger their swift economic integration with Russia if the West continues putting the pressure of sanctions on Russia. Read article in Russian
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russian Foreign Minister negotiates with terrorists in Moscow

Mon, 12/11/2018 - 17:50
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a meeting with the administration of the Taliban* terrorist organisation in Moscow. Originally, the Russian government intended to have representatives of the government of Afghanistan involved in the talks. The latter, however, refused to talk to terrorists in the capital of Russia. Russia's Foreign Minister did not miss such an opportunity, though. After the meeting, a member of the Taliban,* Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, set out a hope that such meetings would take place in the future as well. Daria Mitina, ex-deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, granddaughter of the Prime Minister of Afghanistan in 1963-1965, shared her point of view on the subject of why the Russian government wants to conduct negotiations with terrorists. "Why does the Russian government negotiate with terrorists?""The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation has been trying to make representatives of the official government of Afghanistan and the Taliban* movement sit down at the table of negotiations for 20 years already. The Taliban* sees the government of Afghanistan as a puppet government controlled by the United States of America. Unfortunately, they have every reason to believe so, because Washington had provided every type of support to overthrow the Taliban* regime in Afghanistan. Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai took office with the help of the United States."Ashraf Ghani, the sitting head of state, came to power in a completely different way. He took office as a result of the official election that divided the country into two opposing camps. Ghani defeated incumbent Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah by a slender majority. It is believed in Afghanistan that the candidates won an equal number of votes and found a compromise to make Ghani the president and Abdullah - the prime minister."Nevertheless, the Taliban*, continues to believe that Afghanistan still remains in the hands of the United States. Today, the Taliban* takes more and more regions of the country under control, and Moscow is trying to make the parties to the conflict negotiate." "Still, it just so happens that Russia is negotiating with terrorists. How can it be possible at all?" "One can negotiate with anyone, even with the devil himself. The main thing here is the goal. If the goal is to resolve the Afghan issue and establish peace in the country, then the talks are perfectly justifiable. In this particular case, however, the story is quite complicated. Look at Russia's actions in Syria. Russia found there the terrorists with whom negotiations can be possible. During several years of its military presence in Syria, Russia managed to establish dialogue between the parties that used to kill each other before. Russia started the peace process in Syria, and nearly all territories of the Arab republic have been liberated from criminal groups. "In Afghanistan, everything is different, to put it mildly. Kabul believes that Russia wants to overthrow the current government in Afghanistan to put a representative of the Taliban* in power. Afghan officials do not accept the idea of Moscow's intention to negotiate with the Taliban*. The Taliban* is just like the Islamic State*, a local version of the movement. No one knows what the Taliban is going to do in the future - maybe the movement will decide to expand its sphere of influence. In general, Russia should view the Taliban as a real national threat."   *terrorist groups, banned in Russia
Categories: Russia & CIS

Russia’s sanctions against Ukraine send message to Washington

Fri, 02/11/2018 - 15:41
Russia's sanctions against 322 Ukrainian citizens and 68 companies come as a serious blow to the economy of Ukraine. The sanctions block non-cash funds, securities and property on the territory of the Russian Federation. They also prohibit the transfer of Ukrainian capital out of Russia. However, the Russian authorities have not sanctioned the Ukrainian oligarchs, who finance the war in the Donbass. Ukraine's top Russophobes - President Petro Poroshenko, oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky and Rinat Akhmetov do not appear on Russia's black lists either. Has Russia struck a serious blow on Ukraine indeed? We asked this question to experts.
Categories: Russia & CIS